NL FAAB Factor: Waiver Pickups of the Week

NL FAAB Factor: Waiver Pickups of the Week

This article is part of our NL FAAB Factor series.

We have two goals for this article: 

1. Identify likely free agents and discuss their strengths and weaknesses.

2. Estimate how much of your $100 starting free-agent budget you should bid on them.

Bids in general are best guesstimates. With so much uncertainty at least initially, those values may be even greater estimates than usual. The FAAB chart below lets users easily see at a glance how certain players stack up against others and how much they should command in a variety of formats.

The chart, which is sortable by column (click on the header), include a very basic "player grade" column. This is a reflection of a player's skills and role on an A-E scale. An "A" grade is reserved for a high-impact prospect stepping into an everyday role.

If you have questions on players, I'm happy to provide my thoughts in the comments.

PLAYERTEAMPOSGRADE12-Team Mixed $15-Team Mixed $NL-Only $
Drey JamesonAZSPB014 (early spec call up bid)
Wade MileyCHISPC2711
Connor OvertonCINSPENo14
Taijuan WalkerNYMSPC2711
Anthony BenderMIARPC15RosteredRostered
Cole SulserMIASPD15Rostered
Luis FriasAZRPENoNo4
Ian KennedyAZRPC159
Keynan MiddletonAZRPENoNo3
Caleb SmithAZRPDNo05
Luis CampusanoSDCCNoNo5

We have two goals for this article: 

1. Identify likely free agents and discuss their strengths and weaknesses.

2. Estimate how much of your $100 starting free-agent budget you should bid on them.

Bids in general are best guesstimates. With so much uncertainty at least initially, those values may be even greater estimates than usual. The FAAB chart below lets users easily see at a glance how certain players stack up against others and how much they should command in a variety of formats.

The chart, which is sortable by column (click on the header), include a very basic "player grade" column. This is a reflection of a player's skills and role on an A-E scale. An "A" grade is reserved for a high-impact prospect stepping into an everyday role.

If you have questions on players, I'm happy to provide my thoughts in the comments.

PLAYERTEAMPOSGRADE12-Team Mixed $15-Team Mixed $NL-Only $
Drey JamesonAZSPB014 (early spec call up bid)
Wade MileyCHISPC2711
Connor OvertonCINSPENo14
Taijuan WalkerNYMSPC2711
Anthony BenderMIARPC15RosteredRostered
Cole SulserMIASPD15Rostered
Luis FriasAZRPENoNo4
Ian KennedyAZRPC159
Keynan MiddletonAZRPENoNo3
Caleb SmithAZRPDNo05
Luis CampusanoSDCCNoNo5
William ContrerasATLCDNo05
Alex JacksonMILCENoNo3
Mike FordSF1BENoNo4
Brendan DonovanSTL2BENoNo4
Nolan GormanSTL2BB147 (early spec call up bid)
Johan CamargoPHI3BD147
Evan LongoriaSF3BC2711 (upped return bid)
Jason VoslerSF3BENo05
Elehuris MonteroCOL3BD017
Matt ReynoldsCIN3BENoNo4
Jose BarreroCINSSC015 (early spec return bid)
Diego CastilloPITSSC/D159
Josh RojasAZSSD159 (based on significant PT)
Matt BeatySDOFD026
Trayce ThompsonSDOFDNo05
Travis DemeritteATLOFD147
Luis GonzalezSFOFENoNo4
Jason KrizanSFOFDNoNo3
LaMonte WadeSFOFE2711
Odubel HerreraPHIOFC51116
Roman QuinnPHIOFENoNo5
Jordan LuplowAZOFENoNo5
Jack SuwinskiPITOFD147

STARTING PITCHER

Drey Jameson, Diamondbacks: Jameson was promoted from Double-A Amarillo to Triple-A Reno on Thursday. He earned the bump in level after only allowing one run while striking out 20 over his last 17 innings spanning three starts following a rough first appearance. Jameson mixes a mid-90s fastball with solid changeup and developing slider to retire hitters and posted a 3.98 ERA and 1.21 WHIP with 145 strikeouts and 36 walks over a combined 110.2 innings (21 appearances, 20 starts) at High-A Hillsboro and Double-A Amarillo in 2021. Taken in the first round in 2019, he's not on the 40-man roster meaning he may have to dominate at Reno to earn a call-up to the majors in the second half of the campaign. 12-team Mixed: $0; 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $4 (early spec call up pick) 

Wade Miley, Cubs: Miley, out with left elbow inflammation, threw 46 pitches in a live batting practice session Wednesday. He was slated to throw another BP session this weekend, after which the Cubs will move forward with the next step in his progression. Miley started out 2021 on fire for the Reds with a 2.79 ERA and 1.17 WHIP through the first half, but struggled after. He was claimed off waivers by Chicago and will slot in as the third starter when activated. 12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11 

Connor Overton, Reds: Overton, who made his major-league debut last year with the Pirates, signed a minor-league contract with the Reds last November. He made four appearances (two starts) in Triple-A Louisville this year while recording a 2.84 ERA and 0.95 WHIP across 19 innings. Overton was added to the taxi squad Friday and started Saturday in place of Nick Lodolo (back), allowing a run on three hits and two walks while striking out three over 5.1 innings. Once Cincy gets healthy, look for Overton to head back to the minors, though his solid outing could keep him around a little longer. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $4

Taijuan Walker, Mets: Walker was rostered in less than 50 percent of CBS leagues when activated off the injured list Saturday. He threw just two innings in his season debut before exiting with a shoulder injury that wound up costing him nearly three weeks. Walker was to see no more than 85 pitches in his return to action, but needed just 73 to get through five scoreless innings. He got off to a brilliant start and was an All-Star last season before collapsing in the second half. Look for Walker's 2022 to be somewhere in between those two halves and provide value especially in deeper and single leagues with some upside. 12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11

RELIEF PITCHER

Anthony Bender/Cole Sulser, Marlins: Bender, profiled three weeks ago, gets another mention as he continues to rack up saves. He notched his sixth Saturday to give him four successful conversions this week. Dylan Floro sidelined with arm soreness and is on a rehab stint, but there is no guarantee he gets his job back when he returns if Bender remains successful. Sulser, profiled at the same time as Bender and penciled in as the Orioles closer, was dealt to the Marlins just prior to the year starting. The right-hander converted eight of 11 save chances last year and posted a 2.70 ERA and 1.12 WHIP in 63.1 innings across 60 relief appearances last year. Sulser notched the save Thursday with Bender unavailable and should remain in the late-inning mix even when Floro is activated. Bender - 12-team Mixed: $15, 15-team Mixed: Rostered; 12-team NL: Rostered; Sulser - 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team NL: Rostered 

Luis Frias/Ian Kennedy/Keynan Middleton/Caleb Smith, Diamondbacks: Frias, optioned down late in spring, was called up Thursday to provide bullpen depth. He posted a 3.29 ERA and 1.14 WHIP in 13.2 innings over three starts for Triple-A Reno and could be used as a long reliever for the Snakes. Kennedy, who returned to Arizona this past offseason, notched the save Saturday. He received that chance due to Mark Melancon landing on the COVID-19 injured list Friday. Kennedy, who closed in Texas and Philly last year, clearly is next in line whenever Melancon is sidelined or unavailable. Middleton, optioned to the minors prior to the season, was recalled to replace Melancon on the active roster. He carries a career 3.84 ERA through 126.2 major-league innings, though that mark sits at 5.02 across 43.0 frames since the start of 2020 and provides Arizona another bullpen option. Smith, formerly a starter, worked as a multi-inning reliever at Triple-A while giving up one run on eight hits and one walk with five strikeouts in 7.2 innings over three appearances. He should work in a similar role out of the big-league bullpen while operating in a bulk-inning role. Frias - 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $4; Kennedy - 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team NL: $9; Middleton - 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $3; Smith - 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: $0; 12-team NL: $5 

CATCHER

Luis Campusano, Padres: Campusano was promoted to back up Austin Nola and Jorge Alfaro, replacing Luke Voit (biceps) on the active roster. He earned the call up by slashing .359/.375/.487 through nine games at Triple-A El Paso. Campusano hit .295/.365/.541 with 15 home runs and 45 RBI last year at El Paso and looks to be the likely catcher of the future for the Friars, though his current stint might be short. 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: $0; 12-team NL: $5 

William Contreras/Alex Jackson: The Braves and Brewers called up backup catchers. Contreras hit .292 with three doubles, eight RBI and two runs in 13 games at Triple-A Gwinnett before being called up Thursday. He'll be Atlanta's No. 2 catcher after Manny Pina (left wrist inflammation) was placed on the 10-day injured list. Contreras saw 185 plate appearances in the majors last year and blasted a pair of home runs Friday, though is likely to be sent down when Pina returns. Jackson, a former Brave, is stepping in as the Brewers' No. 2 catcher behind Omar Narvaez after top backup Victor Caratini was placed on the COVID-19 injured list in a corresponding move Tuesday. Once Caratini returns, Jackson will head back to the minors. Contreras - 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $0; 12-team-NL: $5; Jackson - 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team-NL: $3 

FIRST BASE

Mike Ford, Giants: Ford, designated for assignment Monday, was shipped from the Mariners to the Giants on Saturday in exchange for cash considerations. He joined the Giants' active roster to provide depth at first base while Brandon Belt is out with COVID-19, though he'll have to hit better than his career .199/.301/.422 slash line if he wants to stick around once Belt returns. 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $4 

SECOND BASE

Brendan Donovan, Cardinals: Donovan, a seventh-round pick in 2018, was called up for the first-time last Monday by the Cardinals. In 242 games as a professional, he's hit .285/.386/.429 with 21 homers and 23 steals. Donovan has started at every position except catcher and center field, making him a good candidate to possibly stick for a bench role. 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $4

Nolan Gorman, Cardinals: Gorman, selected in the first round of 2018, is adapting to second base with Nolan Arenado expected to cover third for years to come in St. Louis. He was riding a a 15-game hitting streak at Triple-A Memphis, slashing .393/.433/.918 with 10 home runs, a 6.0 BB% and a 29.9 K% in 61 at-bats over that stretch. That K rate is what makes projecting Gorman's future difficult as he brings substantive power with a healthy amount of risk due to his inability to make consistent contact. The presence of DH in the NL makes the likelihood of the Cardinals recalling him sooner rather than later slightly higher, though there are several solid bats in St. Louis that could extend his time in the minors. 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7 (early spec call up bid, up when promoted). 

THIRD BASE

Johan Camargo, Phillies: Camargo spent his entire career with the Braves before joining the Phillies this past offseason. Alec Bohm's strong start has earned him the starting third base job. Didi Gregorius has retained his shortstop spot, but Camargo will still see steady at-bats while bouncing between several different positions when one of the Phillies' everyday players receives a day off. 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7

Evan Longoria/Jason Vosler, Giants: Longoria, profiled three weeks ago, gets another mention as he ran the bases Saturday and could begin a rehab assignment next week. He underwent surgery Mar. 28 to repair a ligament in his right index finger, which was to sideline him 4-to-6 weeks. Longoria began a hitting progression in mid-April and increased his intensity this week, paving the way for him to start the rehab assignment. Wilmer Flores and Vosler have been manning the hot corner in Longoria's absence. When he returns - which could be late this week - he should start nearly every day at third base. Vosler, who homered Friday and Saturday, could stick as a part-time infielder and DH once the Giants finally get all their injured players back. Until then, look for him to remain a starter. Longoria - 12-team Mixed: $2, 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team NL: $11 (slightly upped return bid); Vosler - 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: $0; 12-team NL: $5

Elehuris Montero, Rockies: Montero, acquired from St. Louis in the Nolan Arenado trade, was called up with Kris Bryant (back) landing on the IL. In 20 games for Triple-A Albuquerque this season, Montero hit .288/.356/.450, good for a 110 wRC+. He's shown decent raw power, but comes with questions about his hit tool and his defense, which is why he may profile best as a DH. Montero should see periodic playing time, especially if Brendan Rodgers' back injury lands him on the injured list. 12-team Mixed: $0, 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $7 

Matt Reynolds, Reds: Reynolds was claimed off waivers from the Mets last Sunday. He will fill a utility role for Cincinnati while seeing time at second and third base. 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $4 

SHORTSTOP 

Jose Barrero, Reds: Barrero underwent surgery Mar. 28 to repair the hook of his hamate bone in his left hand. He could have had the chance to push for a starting role to open the season, but was expected to be out until at least early this month. Kyle Farmer has been starting in Barrero's absence and played well enough where Cincy doesn't have to rush Barrero back, though Cincy is 3-18 and will look to get some young blood in their lineup. Barrero has been playing in the field at the Reds' extended spring training facility of late and is expected to ramp up his hitting this week and should be in the mix for a rehab assignment sometime after that. 12-team Mixed: $0, 15-team Mixed: $1; 12-team NL: $5 (early spec return bid)

Diego Castillo, Pirates: Castillo, profiled earlier in the season, gets another mention as he could see consistent playing time at shortstop with Kevin Newman out 3-to-5 weeks with a groin injury. Cole Tucker, who returned to action Saturday after being sidelined due to COVID-19 protocol, will also factor in the mix, but Castillo is a more dynamic player. Castillo parlayed a strong spring into a roster spot in Pittsburgh, aided by the demotion of Oneil Cruz. He managed 19 homers and nine steals in 104 games split across the two highest levels of the minors last season. 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team NL: $9 

Josh Rojas, Diamondbacks: Rojas, sidelined since just before the start of the regular season with a Grade 2 right oblique strain, kicked off a rehab stint at extended spring training this past week. Before being injured, he was set to start on the left side of Arizona's infield, likely at the hot corner. Since then, shortstop Nick Ahmed returned from a shoulder injury and Geraldo Perdomo has been eased in to third base. If Perdomo remains in the majors at the hot corner, Rojas could revert to the utility infield role he filled when he first came up in 2019, though won't see time in the outfield. 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $5; 12-team NL: $9 (based on Rojas seeing significant playing time) 

OUTFIELD 

Matt Beaty/Trayce Thompson, Padres: Beaty, profiled the last two weeks, is back here with Wil Myers (thumb) on the injured list. As a lefty, he's likely to operate as Myers' primary replacement, though the righty Thompson could be viewed as a short-side platoon option. Beaty is coming off a season where he hit .270/.363/.402 with seven homers in 234 trips to the plate for LA. Prior to his promotion this week, the 31-year-old Thompson - who is with his sixth team in eight years - slashed .316./385/.860 with nine home runs and a stolen base across 65 plate appearances at Triple-A El Paso. He should see time at all three outfield spots while Myers is sidelined. Beaty - 12-team Mixed: $0; 15-team Mixed: $2; 12-team-NL: $7; Thompson - 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $0; 12-team-NL: $5 

Travis Demeritte, Braves: Demeritte was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett late this spring. Over 12 games there, he picked up starts in both corner-outfield spots and at DH while slashing .283/.365/.630 with 10 extra-base hits to earn a promotion two weeks ago. Due to red-hot play following his call up, Demeritte looks to have the edge over Guillermo Heredia and Orlando Arcia for playing time in left field with Eddie Rosario (eye) sidelined. 12-team Mixed: $1, 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team NL: $7

Luis Gonzalez/Jason Krizan/LaMonte Wade, Giants: Gonzalez is logging regular time in right field against right-handed pitching while LaMonte Wade (knee) remains on the injured list. When Wade returns, Gonzalez could still stick as San Francisco is dealing with a number of outfielders who are barged up with a variety of ailments. Krizan was promoted and started in left field on Friday. He played 11 seasons and 1,132 games in the minors before getting this opportunity. Krizan was hitting .213/.333/.340 with one home run in 13 games at Triple-A Sacramento while getting time at first and second base. He probably won't be up very long, especially with Wade (knee) on the verge of returning. Wade has been on IL since late spring due to inflammation and a bone bruise in his left knee and is close to finishing his rehab assignment. When back in action, he should see substantive playing time in left and right field and largely against righties due to his struggles versus southpaws. Gonzalez - 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team-NL: $4; Krizan - 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team-NL: $3; Wade - 12-team Mixed: $2; 15-team Mixed: $7; 12-team-NL: $11 

Odubel Herrera/Roman Quinn, Phillies: Herrera, profiled two weeks ago, gets another mention as he's raked since coming off the injured list. He is sitting against southpaws, but has excelled against righties by batting .389 with seven runs driven in his first seven games of action. Quinn is starting against lefties, but Herrera is on the strong side of the platoon and could see action versus southpaws. Herrera no longer runs, but can provide some pop and production from either the ninth or first spot in the batting order. Quinn, who's back in Philly, saw limited action over the past few years while dealing with a plethora of injuries and his availability remains somewhat of a question mark despite currently being healthy. For now, he's seeing starts and at-bats vs. lefties. Herrera - 12-team Mixed: $5, 15-team Mixed: $11; 12-team NL: $16; Quinn - 12-team Mixed: No, 15-team Mixed: No; 12-team NL: $5

Jordan Luplow, Diamondbacks: Luplow, out since the start of the season with a strained oblique, was activated off the IL without making a rehab assignment. The 28-year-old hit .202/.326/.454 with 11 home runs and 28 RBI in 62 games between Cleveland and Tampa Bay in 2021 and was traded to Arizona last November. Luplow should get consistent playing time at all three outfield spots, especially against lefties. 12-team Mixed: No; 15-team Mixed: $0; 12-team-NL: $5

Jack Suwinski, Pirates: Suwinski, acquired from San Diego last season in the Adam Frazier deal, slashed .353/.421/.686 with three home runs and a stolen base in 57 plate appearances at Double-A Altoona prior to his promotion last Tuesday. He was called up to the majors for the first time with Bryan Reynolds (illness) sidelined. Reynolds is back, but Kevin Newman (groin) landed on the IL and Diego Castillo shifted to shortstop to open right field for Suwinski. Because he's yet to play above Double-A, he likely won't have a long leash atop the depth chart if he struggles at the plate. But if Suwinski gets hot, he could stick in the Steel City. 12-team Mixed: $1; 15-team Mixed: $4; 12-team-NL: $7

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jan Levine
Levine covers baseball and hockey for RotoWire. He is responsible for the weekly NL FAAB column for baseball and the Barometer for hockey. In addition to his column writing, he is master of the NHL cheat sheets. In his spare time, he roots for the Mets and Rangers.
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